Aluminum cans, plastic bottles and a jug half-filled with spoiled milk were rescued from years of lying in a landfill by the Environmental Society’s recycling raid Thursday.
About 15 students from the Environmental Society and the Locavore Club retrieved 16 bags of recyclables from the trashcans of Nelson Hall, A.B. Barret Hall and McKinzie Hall, said Environmental Society President Samantha Futrell, sophomore environmental science major from San Angelo.
“We hoped to bring awareness that everybody has something recyclable in their trashcan,” Futrell said. “It’s important to me personally because, as far as we know, God only made one creation.”
The students broke up into three teams and took trash bags to their assigned dorm. The Nelson Hall team filled their trash bags the quickest, Futrell said, causing her to believe the dorm may have put the most recyclables in with their garbage. However, the men’s dorm had the most disgusting trash by far, Futrell said.
The teams came back together to sort through their plunder under the guidance of Dr. James Cooke, professor of environmental science. Cooke informed the students that the City of Abilene will recycle all plastics except Styrofoam, as they adorned rubber gloves to sift through sticky soda cans and corn syrup bottles.
“Once a person picks up another person’s trash, they get a different attitude about things,” Cooke said. “It’s okay, everything washes off.”
Afterward, the group enjoyed a dinner from Schlotzsky’s Deli – served on biodegradable plates and cups, Futrell said.
Cooke was encouraged by students’ enthusiasm on the project, and said he thought the raid was an innovative way to remind the campus of the importance of recycling. But one raid isn’t enough to make sustainability on campus a reality.
“The job is bigger than what we got accomplished in the one activity,” Cooke said. “I’d like to see more of that kind of thing.”
The Environmental Society is planning another recycling raid on Nov. 11, and all students, staff and faculty are invited to participate, Futrell said. Cooke said he hoped to see students with a diversity of interests join forces with the Environmental Society as the Locavore Club did.
Matthew Hale, senior communication major from Uvalde and president of the Locavore Club, said he was happy to work with the Environmental Society under their common goal of sustainability.
“It made us more aware of how recycling affected our lives,” Hale said.